Working on Form: Video Analysis

Aug 17, 2011 by

Working on Form: Video Analysis

Once Upon a Time

Back when golf was my obsession, I occasionally recorded my swing and tried to analyze my faults.  Many times, what I thought was happening was proven wrong by the video. Up until the last couple of weeks, I had not used video to help my running form. Now that I have an HD video recorder in my possession most of the time thanks to a smart phone, I figured it was time to use it.

What is good form?  Click here for a link to a good video on form at Active.com.

How am I working on improving my form?  I am concentrating on foot strike mostly, trying to transform from being a heel striker to a mid-foot striker.  I know I am a heel striker from race photos and shoe wear patterns.  I am working on this transformation through changes in shoes (reducing heel to toe drop) and experimenting with barefoot running to get the feel of not heel striking. I am learning to lengthen my stride by lifting the heel higher toward my rear end, instead of extending my forward step. Here is a video of me running in my new Newton Gravitas shoes.

What did I learn from this video? #1, I think this is going in the right direction. #2, I am definitely not heel striking, and #3, I can see how high my back kick was.  I was intentionally going with what felt like a higher heel lift than I normal feel, and I can see that it was much better.  This run was very short and it was tough to keep the form toward the end.  I will now have to work on hamstring strengthening.

Here is a video of me barefoot on the treadmill.

 

What did I learn from this video? #1, I seem to be way too tense.  I already figured out earlier in the year that I am an under pronator, and I don’t see much pronation there at all.  So, I need to relax and see if I get a bit of normal pronation.  #2, I might have my feet pointed outward a bit.  Just a minor thing maybe, but I could experiment with my toes pointed a little more inward.  Other than those 2 things, I was pleased with the foot strike.

So, just like in golf, the video proved very useful.  Feel free to comment.

Finally, here’s a link to a recent article at Runner’s World which asks ‘Does form matter?”

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Product Review: New Balance Minimus Trail

Jul 31, 2011 by

Product Review: New Balance Minimus Trail

 

New Balance MT10

New Balance released their MT10 shoe, also called the Minimus Trail, earlier this year.  I had tried them on several times in the spring but did  not pull the trigger.  I was torn between the Merrell Trail Gloves and the MT10’s.  I have owned several Merrell casual and hiking shoes over the years, and I’m a Merrell fan.  I had never owned a pair of New Balance anythings.  In the end,  the New Balance just fit my foot better, and I finally purchased my MT10’s in mid May.  Last night I saw an updated and slightly different version in a shoe store at the mall (MT20’s maybe?), so I figured I better post my review of the MT10’s.

Initial Thoughts in Store

No Insert

Sometime you try a shoe on in the store and immediately go “Oh, yeah”.  This was one of these cases.  These shoes are extremely comfortable.  They have no insert and invite you to go sockless.  I have not done this yet, though.  Size-wise,  I had to go up a 1/2 size from my normal 10 to 10 1/2.  I made sure I tried them on with my favorite Injinji socks.  I probably could have gone with 10’s, but I decided to err on slightly bigger than smaller.  The toe box is wide and is exactly what I was looking for.  The specs on the shoe say it has a 4mm drop, but I guess because there is so little midsole compared to my 4mm drop Kinvaras, it seems like 0 drop to me.

On the trail

I have put about 90 miles on mine since May.  This includes a few 10+ mile trail runs and a 5 mile beach run.  At first, I had some hot spots on the balls of my foot due to the shoe sliding around on downhills, but I changed the way I laced the shoes to prevent the sliding.  More on that in a minute.  You can definitely feel the terrain.  They are very similar in feel to  Vibram Five Finger Bikilas and almost as flexible.

Quite Flexible

I did compare the two on some gravel rock paths  and the slightly thicker MT10’s did feel better on the gravel.  Overall, I am very pleased with MT10 performance and happy to be able to run in so little shoe on the trails.   So far, though, I have not tried them in slick/wet conditions.  Summer has been very dry here.  I really don’t think they will be offer great traction in wet conditions.  We’ll see.

Dislikes

I only have 2 complaints about the MT10’s.  First, the shoe strings are too long.  Simple enough fix, I guess.  I could replace them, but for now I just double lace them to keep them from hitting the opposite legs when I run.  Second, they need one additional lace hole past what they have.  You know that additional hole in most shoes that is slightly lower than the next to last hole and 99% of people probably don’t use?  We’ll, I use it to lace my shoes so they don’t slip on the heel.  This keeps the shoe from sliding around and helps prevent blisters.  I make do with the last two holes that are there, but I am tempted to add my own additional hole.

Final Thought

I like these shoes so much, I have decided to violate one of my personal rules – not wearing current “active” running shoes for casual use.  What a rebel.

 

Additional Reviews can be found at the links below:

Natural Running Center

Runblogger

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Barefoot Running & Free Book Download

Jul 23, 2011 by

I am working on barefoot running again.  Why? You might ask.  Read my newly-added section of my blog called Barefoot Running – Part 2 to find out.  In this lengthy write-up, I cover my experience over the last year to move toward minimalist shoes. Please check it out here.

I have followed Jason Robillard’s Barefoot Running University blog for some time. He recently completed the Western States 100 mile ultra marathon and has a fascinating race report on his blog.  You should read it.

I am currently reading Jason’s book, The Barefoot Running Book.   He has graciously offered a free PDF download of this book here.  No catches. Just download and read.  Even if you never plan to run without shoes, you should read this book!
You can also buy it on Amazon by clicking on the picture below:

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